Dominus Estate Bordeaux blend Napa Valley 2020

Dominus Estate Bordeaux blend Napa Valley 2020

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2020 Dominus

The Wine Advocate 95 Points

Reviewed by:
Joe Czerwinski
Drink Date:
2025 - 2040

An excellent wine, even if not a great Dominus, the 2020 Dominus delivers waves of dark fruit—think predominantly cassis. A blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, it's full-bodied and richly textured, perhaps a bit warm and open-knit because of the summer's heat, but with a long, velvety finish attractively tinged with mocha and dark chocolate.

Director of Viticulture and Winemaking Tod Mostero pointed out that low-rainfall years—like 2020—can be some of the best performers at Dominus. That said, when rainfall is just a bit more than half of the average of the past 25 years, it can't help but impact the wine. Coupled with the season's warmth, yields were down substantially.

According to Mostero, the grapes were going through veraison by the end of July, and were then hit by three successive heat episodes: August 13–15, with temperatures hitting 102, 106 and 108 degrees Fahrenheit; August 18–19, with temps peaking at 102 and 106; and September 5–7, with highs of 105, 112 and 114. Even with the fruiting-zone misters, which can drop temperatures by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and the site's dry farming, crews had to go through the vineyard to drop raisined and sunburned fruit. After picking, the fruit was then sorted extensively by hand and run through an optical sorter. Harvesting wrapped up prior to the Glass Fire ignition on September 27. "We set up HEPA filters to try to keep the smoky air out of the winery as much as we could," said Mostero. "When we taste, smoke isn't an issue, but we taste the heat spikes; and we produced only 30% of a normal crop."

Published: Jun 08, 2023